Welcome to university life, may I introduce you to your debt…
Following the release of A-level results last week, it’s unsurprising that this weekend’s money sections primarily focussed on student finances.
Amongst the excitement of confirming offers and trying to get through the merry-go-round of clearing, new undergraduates need to think about their new financial situation and how to avoid an astronomical debt after graduation. According to Mary Rose Fison, graduate debt frequently breaks the £20, 000 mark and so it’s vital to choose the right bank account. This doesn’t mean choosing the one which offers a free music player but one which has an interest-free overdraft. Moreover, it’s important to check out the interest rates when the balance is in the black AND the red.
The Sunday Express continued this train of thought encouraging students to get insurance. This is of particular importance given that the Home Office has published figures showing students are statistically one of the most likely groups to fall victim to crime.
It’s not just tuition fees, living costs and the ever-important “going out” money which eat up a student’s loan either. The Guardian highlighted the issues around charges of accommodation costs in halls, private student blocks, shared houses and flats. While there is cause for celebration if you have just been accepted to go to Bradford, where apparently self catering accommodation is as little as £53.50/week, in Edinburgh catered accommodation is as high as £216.44/week. With this in mind it’s hardly shocking that even the most prudent of students usually leaves Uni in debt, as a case study in the Independent revealed on Saturday. However, Nick Evans of One Life Wealth Planning commented that it’s not all doom and gloom, given that a student loan is actually considered quite a cheap form of debt. As a result, it’s advisable to pay off an overdraft before worrying too much about the loan.
For those of us unaffected by A-level results and student budgeting there were some interesting pieces on how to beat food inflation. As well as searching the internet to find the cheapest supermarket for your weekly shop, the FT suggested investing in the production of food. From a simple supply and demand perspective it makes sense to invest in agriculture – population increases and rising global wealth has pushed up demand for meat and grain. Furthermore, while prices collapsed in the financial crisis, it is worth remembering that soft commodities were all the rage for investors in 2007 and 2008. Merryn Somerset Webb recommended investing in machinery rather than crops themselves as factors such as the weather make crops a risky and unpredictable gamble.
The Telegraph also published a piece on how to profit from food inflation. Emma Wall championed various funds to invest in. These included Agriculture exchange-traded funds (although these can be volatile it says) and Tesco, which is large enough to absorb any increases in input costs and Associated British Foods. Overall, while inflation does have many negative impacts, it would seem that we can actually benefit from rising food costs.
A round up of topics is as follows:
Credit cards 4%